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Carlin stirs up laughter at Maryland Theatre

January 30, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION

George Carlin strolled onto the stage at the Maryland Theatre Saturday night and greeted the crowd with a profane-laden hello.

It was the langauge many die-hard Carlin fans were waiting for, and it didn't take long.

"Just wanted to make you feel at home," quipped the 61-year-old comedian.

Then in classic Carlin style, he began making a mockery of U.S. customs that he says make no sense at all, like airport security and germ-killing hand lotion.

Despite all the efforts to find explosives, airport officials "haven't found one bomb in one bag. There are no bombs," said Carlin.

But yet travelers can get effective weapons like chainsaws or broken whiskey bottles onto a plane, or bring on a load of drugs.

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"And God bless them, too," said Carlin.

Carlin said the country's overwhelming paranoia of germs is being driven by people who don't appreciate how a little sickness can make the world more exciting.

Terrorism sounds kind of fun, too, Carlin adds.

"Do you know how many people die from food poisoning in this country? Nine-thousand. That's all. It's a minor risk," said Carlin, who bragged that he used to swim through raw sewage in the rivers around his house when he was a kid.

"He's definitely got a great insight," said Bill Klingelsmith of Hedgesville, W.Va., who had not seen Carlin live since a show in Buffalo, N.Y., in the late 1970s.

Rick Wells of Frederick, Md., said he was anxious to hear Carlin "shake up the Bible Belt" with his raucous humor.

Fans said their other favorite Carlin humor over the years has been his simple discussions about household items, like "good scissors," and "stuff." Others favored Carlin's discussion of stupid dog behavior and smart cats.

Vick Gisin of Baltimore said he came to see Carlin after reading the comedian's book "Brain Droppings," which has been described as "drop dead funny."

"It's intellectual humor," said Gisin.

Deanna Garver, of Hagerstown, said her husband adores Carlin and she was glad he could make the show. But Carlin's dirty language, like his "Seven Dirty Words," which led the Supreme Court to uphold a ban on the broadcast of offensive material, is a little much for Garver.

"I hope he doesn't repeat it. I'm kind of a prude," she said.

The two performances at the downtown Hagerstown theater were part of many shows Carlin has been doing at small venues lately to practice material for a new concert called "George Carlin, You're All Diseased."

The concert will premier on television next Saturday at 9:30 p.m., said his manager, Jerry Hamza.

Carlin has been to Hagerstown many times over the years.

"He likes it because it's a good theater, and a nice place to present his art," said Hamza.

The first show sold out, and the second performace was close to a sellout at press time.

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